Arising Here, Now

Non-Fiction - Social Issues
32 Pages
Reviewed on 10/18/2017
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Author Biography

Nej is the founder of Coexist Kuwait and the author of Arising Here, Now; Beyond And Not Quite; And the Raven Recites; Sacred Nothingness; The Waltz Returns; The Waltz of This and That (which was translated into Italian: Il Valzer di Questo e Quello); Ounces of Oneness; Awake in the Game of Pretending; This is an imprint. Her articles and poems have been featured in Tikkun, Best Self Magazine, Women's Spiritual Poetry, The Master Shift, Thought Catalog, Arab Times, The Divan, Kuwait Times, Al Rai, Get Out Blog and Global Chatter Magazine, and she is also the author of a blog.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Joel R. Dennstedt for Readers' Favorite

The concise, articulate, and profoundly thoughtful articles included in the far-too-short collection titled Arising Here, Now by Nejoud Al-Yagout are reminiscent of those pamphleteering calls to justice prevalent in pre-revolutionary times. In turn, however, these particularly clear-thinking critiques and observations directed specifically to the author’s home country (Kuwait) are not clarion calls to violent change, but quite the opposite. They call on individuals of all nations to awaken. Not by any prescribed religious doctrine, but by the authentic realization of our natural, spiritual human origins and most ancient, deeply shared truths. The writer clearly declares the basis on which such clear thinking and actions have been historically subverted:

“We have been taught to believe that chaos is a way of life. If it were, then most of us would be slaughtering each other and we would not feel pain at such horror. But this is certainly not the case, because we are taught to kill, conditioned to torture others.”

Nejoud Al-Yagout applies in Arising Here, Now the principles of awakened thinking and a realized clarity of truth to many specific and current outrages occurring in Kuwait, like censorship and stifled human rights and freedoms that are applicable to the whole world as a unified, holistic entity. There are no misapplied religious doctrines volubly espoused here. Rather, using words that are precise, cogent, and undebatably self-evident, the articles included in this powerful conversation are sharply rational, emotionally stirring, and spiritually arousing. Nejoud Al-Yagout establishes herself as a voice of ringing sanity – clear as any bell - sounding forth within the wilderness we inhabit.

Gisela Dixon

Arising Here, Now by Nejoud Al-Yagout is almost a collection of musings much like a series of blog posts. The book starts off with a brief introduction by Nejoud and describes how and why she decided to forgo a table of contents. As a result, the book is a collection of short chapters on topics relating to peace, humanity, spirituality, and transcendence. Some of the chapters include thoughts and analysis on what war means and what it means to glorify it in today’s world under the name of patriotism, terrorism, censorship of art on moral or religious grounds, LGBT community, love over fear, Kuwait and its people and culture, coexistence on earth and harmony, religion and spirituality, etc.

I found Arising Here, Now by Nejoud Al-Yagout to be a wonderful book. I didn’t know what to expect, but was very glad to hear about Nejoud’s extremely mature and, at times, almost wise viewpoints. I tended to agree with almost everything she said, although I also felt that human nature being what it is, some things in the world may unfortunately never change. Still, there is a lot to reflect upon and think about in this book that is definitely worth it. I appreciated Nejoud’s stand on human rights issues such as gay rights and women’s rights. I also liked that she has classified religion as a personal thing and I believe that society and our man-made legal systems should not be influenced or run per the dictates of religion. Overall, this is a fantastic and thought provoking book.

Viga Boland

If you’re in one of those reflective, introspective moods when reading and yet another gut-wrenching memoir or tension-filled thriller won’t satisfy your need to read something, anything, you might like to ruminate along with Nejoud Al-Yagout as she looks at concerns that trouble her in this short collection of essays titled Arising Here, Now. If you do that, you might just find that her reflections on life, culture and religious issues mirror your own. So don’t hesitate to dive in.

The author of Arising Here, Now, along with being the founder of Coexist Kuwait, is also a columnist and interviewer for Kuwait Times. Her articles, essays, books and poems have been widely published and, when you read this collection, you will see why. She is feisty and outspoken about issues too many avoid talking about e.g. blind adherence to and unquestioning acceptance of religious and cultural teachings handed down through generations; society’s painful practice of applying labels to all who are different like those belonging to the LGBT community. She questions the rightness of censorship that forbids her society from enjoying music, the arts. She urges us to address the “Trumps” that exist in all of us, i.e. those thoughts that dictate our actions. And in that society where the word “infidel” is used to brainwash and terrorize, she asserts that “the only infidels are intolerance, arrogance, fear, anger and greed."

Rather than a relaxing read, Nejoud Al-Yagout’s essays in Arising Here, Now are thought-provoking. Regardless of what part of the world we live in, they speak directly to our most innermost musings, reminding us that there comes a point in our lives where we must decide that although what we follow might be true, is it right? And taking that just a bit further, she avers that “when we choose what is right over what is true or untrue, there is love.” A powerful statement indeed. When the author asks us that since, ultimately, we walk the stairway to heaven alone, why carry someone else’s baggage i.e. dogma, with us, we nod our heads in agreement. After all, she reminds us, since we can never really know the Unknown, we need to find the divine within ourselves. By doing so, by letting go of all the baggage we carry, we choose love and free ourselves to enjoy arising here and now. A prescription for individual, if not world peace? Perhaps. You decide. Read Arising Here, Now.

Kayti Nika Raet

In Arising Here, Now, a book of essays by the author Nejoud Al-Yagout, each work invites the reader on a journey of life, hope, and perseverance. Each short piece is full of sensitive, thoughtful musings that Al-Yagout manages to invite the reader to explore as she tackles topics like censorship and xenophobia. As she shows with her previous collections of poetry, in Arising Here, Now, Nejoud Al-Yagout ponders the meaning of existence, the essence of love and all of the things that truly make us human and connect all of us together.

The essays are crafted with a stripped minimalist approach that nonetheless manages to capture the essence of her thoughts and leave the reader with just enough meat to savor. Having read a previous collection by Nejoud Al-Yagout, I was excited to dive into the light and sparse world that still manages to sit with the reader long after the last page. Arising Here, Now is a book that can be easily read in one sitting and, while the primary focus on the text is on the author's home country of Kuwait, many of the themes and topics she explores are so universal that they can easily be recognized by any nationality. As an American, I enjoyed this glimpse into another land. I found myself thoroughly enjoying each essay and feel that Arising Here, Now by Nejoud Al-Yagout will be a great read for fans of her previous work. Just as before, I look forward to seeing  Nejoud Al-Yagout's name become one that I encounter more often in the future.

Ann Neville

Arising Here, Now, written by Nejoud Al-Yagout, invites readers to use love rather than fear to dissolve divisive labels that promote polarization. As a Kuwaiti poet, Nejoud Al-Yagout's travels around the world have connected her to the larger community of humanity and showed her that, beyond beliefs and cultures, everyone is the same. Passionate about books, words, the imagination, and explorations of the self, her book Arising Here, Now is a collection of previously published essays that encourage the reader to consider how much corporate and religious power affect our thinking and actions. The essays are all written in prose style although Nejoud Al-Yagout's passion is poetry.

In Arising Here, Now, Nejoud Al-Yagout discusses sensitive topics in order to stir up the collective unconsciousness and pave the way for a more inclusive community world-wide. Among other topics, she questions our reactions to the war against terrorism, censorship, the role of music in society (particularly in religions steeped in dogma as is hers), Trump mania and religion. The essays are well-written and provide easy access to different perspectives on contentious subjects. Although the topics are sensitive and serious, Nejoud Al-Yagout's sense of compassion and humour are apparent. As a 'Westerner,' I found some of her observations on her culture and and the restrictions imposed in the name of religion to be illuminating. She is to be congratulated on questioning such controversial issues. If you are looking for a well-written read that will leave you questioning your own values and beliefs, I recommend Arising Here, Now by Nejoud Al-Yagout.